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New Fertilizer improves rice output

Urea Deep Placement (UDP) technology used for rice production requires 40 – 50% less urea than other fertilizer methods through the use of urea briquettes that are placed in the soil, not on the surface, and release nitrogen slowly. The briquettes reduce the amount of fertilizer lost through runoff and release into the atmosphere.

“While the traditional urea fertiliser is used three times for a crop, the urea briquette or ‘guti urea’ is used just once, which drastically reduces production costs. On an average, farmers use 250-300 kilograms urea for paddy cultivation per hectare while only 160-170 kilograms of 'guti urea' is required under the UDP. In 2008-09, the UDP technology was used on 500,000 hectares of rice fields and production increased by 268,000 metric tons. The farmers had additional annual net returns of USD 188 per hectare.

“In addition, the UDP technology reduces the number of agricultural man-hours of labour. In 2008-09, for instance, an additional 9.5 days of labour was generated per hectare. The UDP technology has also helped in generating employment at the village level as the production of urea briquettes can be done by locally manufactured briquette-making
machines.”

Implications from Strategic Foresight Group:

“The technology is most effective on soils with less internal drainage and when used on high yielding varieties of crops. Hence, the UDP technology could be potentially beneficial when used in flooded rice farming systems in Asian and African countries. On-farm trials of this technology have been already introduced in African countries such as Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Togo and also in Vietnam and Cambodia.

“As global prices of chemical fertilizers spiral upwards, the potential for adoption of the UDP technology on a much wider scale needs to be explored, especially in developing countries where the cost of chemical fertilizers is prohibitive for poor subsistence farmers. The success of this technology will not only substantially increase income of poor farmers but the need for urea briquettes will also create additional local employment
opportunities in these countries.”

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Sources:

Strategic Foresight Group, April 2010, pg. 12
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG_Apr2010.pdf#page=12